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Veterinary institutions hunt for college deans
Oklahoma State fills deanship as five other accredited universities pull from small pool of qualified candidates
Stillwater, Okla.-Oklahoma State University's veterinary college has named Dr. Michael Lorenz dean, leaving at least five other accredited institutions pursuing candidates to run their veterinary programs.
North Carolina State University, Virginia Tech and University of Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Iowa State University and the University of Guelph in Ontario each are in the market for veterinary college deans. Whether due to desire to move on, retirement or term and age limits, deans are exiting academia, leaving institutions pulling from the same pool of qualified candidates, says Dr. Larry Heider, executive director of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC).
Dr. Larry Heider
"I think it's unusual, given the numbers of deans leaving, but it shouldn't be unexpected," Heider says. "More than anything, it seems opportunity has been calling. There's more opportunity now for veterinarians of that rank in government and industry."
Nowadays, deans hold their posts for less time than in the past, therefore veterinary leaders should expect three vacancies each year, Heider theorizes.
"Although I don't have any statistics to back this up, it was common in the past for deans to stay for longer periods of time," he says. "Current deans, on average, stay 6.8 years in office when the average term used to be 9.6 years."
That staying power likely has dwindled due to disillusionment, says Jeffrey Douglas, spokesman for Virginia Tech.
"Highly educated, highly motivated people have big dreams," Douglas says. "Frankly, in states across the nation, higher education is simply not funded and a lot of those dreams don't happen."
Filling a role
At presstime, Virginia Tech leaders whittled its deanship candidates down to three, one of whom is Dr. Joe Kornegay, current dean of University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine, the Virginia Tech Web site reports. The candidate hired will fill the role previously held by Dr. Peter Eyre, who retired last November at age 67. He served as dean for 18 years.
"Veterinary medicine is not a huge academic community," Douglas says. "It makes sense that a few will be leaders, and they will rise to the top. With traditional funding turned on its ear and enormous cultural and economic changes, I think the good news is the academic veterinary profession has produced a very rich pool of candidates. It has challenged institutions to find leaders adaptive to change."